The England winger has been one of the Blues’ better players so far this season, and scored a double in their 3-0 win over Luton in August.
Sterling is well enough to make the bench for Chelsea’s visit to Craven Cottage to face Fulham, but he has not been risked in the starting XI by Pochettino as Armando Broja and Cole Palmer lead the line instead.
“Raheem Sterling didn’t train in the last three days as he’s had a virus, that’s why he’s not in the starting XI”, the Argentine explained to Sky Sports.
“Armando Broja is ready to play, maybe not 90 minutes but he can make an impact from the start. We hope he can deal with the competition, it’s always difficult for a player.
“He’s our striker and he needs to build his fitness and confidence. It’s a good opportunity.”
Broja returns to the Chelsea starting team for the first time since rupturing his ACL in a friendly against Aston Villa in December last year.
He starts ahead of Nicolas Jackson, who is suspended after picking up five yellow cards in his first six games since joining Chelsea from Villareal this summer.